How to Relax on Vacation: Tips for Reducing the Stress of Traveling

With many schools letting out soon for spring break you may be looking for some needed “r & r” (rest and relaxation) time, as your family plans a spring vacation. But, on the other hand, you’ve probably heard the old saying…. “Well, now that I’m back from my vacation, I’m ready for a vacation!”

Unfortunately, too many families defeat their purpose as they try too hard to have a good time. Instead of coming back relaxed, they’re more frazzled than before they left.

How can you take the stress out of travel and come back refreshed from your vacation? Here are some tips….

Prepare Before Leaving

Days before leaving for your trip, make sure you have enough maps and information so you won’t be stuck on the road, not knowing where to go or what to do. If you don’t have a map of an area, you can always get one at your local AAA (American Auto Association), if you’re an AAA member. Besides picking up maps, ask questions regarding the area you plan to visit, as well as the best route to take.

As for flying, make sure you know what you can or can’t bring on board by visiting the TSA website.

Don’t Overpack

Don’t take the house when you travel. As you pack your suitcase, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” If not, then leave it home. This is especially important if you’re flying. Don’t do like some unfortunate air travelers who’ve had to pay an extra $50 because of a suitcase weighing more than the 50 pound limit.

Arrive on Time

One of the biggest stressors of a vacation is rushing around, trying not to miss a flight or other appointment. Instead of panicking that you’ll be late, allow for plenty of time for wherever you’re going. When flying, it’s better to be early at an airport where you can kill time reading at your departure gate, than stressing out as you dash to and then through the airport, fearful you’ll miss your flight.

Limit Your Intake of Food and Alcohol

You may be on vacation, but if you overeat or drink more alcohol that you should, you’re only adding stress to your trip. Instead, decide what’s reasonable to eat or drink. Not only will you feel better physically, but also you won’t beat yourself up because you couldn’t discipline yourself.

Limit Your Activities

You may feel like you have to see all the highlights of an area before leaving. However, this kind of pressure to “do it all” only adds more stress to your vacation. Discipline yourself to do only a limited amount of activities and no more. If you don’t allow for rest and needed “down time”, it’s not a vacation.

Learn to Say No

When you go back home to visit or to an area where you once lived, there’s usually the pressure of trying to visit as many friends and relatives as possible to avoid hurt feelings. Let’s face it. You can’t visit everyone. Before arriving, decide what you can do and can’t do, as well as who you can see or can’t see. One solution is to plan a dinner party at a restaurant with all your old friends so you can see them all at once. Otherwise, you’ll be stressed trying to please everyone.

Finally, if you do miss a flight or something goes wrong early in your trip, relax. Take a deep breath and determine to make the rest of your trip as relaxing as possible.

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